Safety » 7
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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Five stars, front impacts; five stars, side impacts
Good, frontal offset impact; Marginal, side impact
Unique-for-its-class driver's knee airbag
The 2009 Dodge Caliber looks pretty fierce, but some safety tests show that it's more of a paper tiger.
The Dodge Caliber has been tested by both NHTSA and the IIHS, although the results show some marked differences. In NHTSA tests, the Caliber earned the highest possible safety rating, five stars, in every single crash category. The IIHS also bestowed top honors on the Dodge Caliber for front impact protection, but offered a starkly different assessment of side impact protection. In the side impact category, the IIHS awarded the Dodge Caliber a second-worst Marginal rating, reflecting the poor safety record of the Caliber when not equipped with side-impact airbags. The IIHS cited the fact that "measures taken from the dummy indicate that rib fractures and/or internal organ injuries would be likely" as their justification for the rating.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are wholly negative when it comes to the safety features available on the 2009 Dodge Caliber. The problem is not that certain features aren't available, but rather that they're not standard in a lot of cases. To begin, Car and Driver says that "front, curtain, and driver's-side knee airbags are standard," and Cars.com adds that a "stability system is standard on the SRT4." However, MyRide.com reviewers note that antilock brakes "are optional with the manual transmission on the SE and SXT." Cars.com reports that "an electronic stability system and traction control are optional on most models," but side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional.
One oft-overlooked aspect of overall safety is driver visibility, and the 2009 Dodge Caliber doesn't escape unscathed in this category. ConsumerGuide is the most critical in their coverage of driver visibility, noting that "outward visibility to all directions is restricted by thick roof pillars, especially to the rear corners."
Safety features didn't get much priority on the equipment list of the low-cost 2009 Dodge Caliber.